It’s Time to Fall for the Book!

  • By Suzy Rigdon and Kate Lewis
  • October 6, 2021

The popular festival is all-virtual this October.


Plagues, pandemics, and quarantines aren’t good for much, but they can provide the perfect recipe for creativity. And just like when the bubonic plague swept across Europe in the 1590s, giving Shakespeare the impetus and time to write Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, and The Merchant of Venice, so, too, did covid-19, in 2020, provide a fertile growing space for modern literary ideas and expression.

One avenue that’s blooming in this new age is the virtual book festival — notably, Fall for the Book

Last year, Fall for the Book turned our in-person festival (normally held on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA) into a three-month online extravaganza, thanks to Crowdcast and a little behind-the-scenes production magic. Surprisingly, it led to some of the biggest crowds of our 22-year run. 

Early this year, we decided to keep things largely virtual but flipped the script on what a book event can be, dialing up the editing and effects. For Suzy Rigdon and Julija Pivo — festival manager and production manager, respectively — this has been a great opportunity to dive into film production, learning editing software and stretching their creative muscles to add a little Hollywood flair to the YouTube exclusives

For the first time, we’re hosting a round-robin-style interview: “Around the World in Five Novels,” featuring authors living in India, Chile, and England, as well as writers from Mauritius and Saudi Arabia who are now in the States. In “Tales of Terror,” three horror writers scattered throughout the U.S. and Malaysia will read campfire-style scary stories while an artist illustrates them.

In “For the Thrill of It All,” world-class female athletes will tune in to tell their tales of daring and adventure as we watch them cave-dive, skydive, and glide over a city skyline in just a wingsuit. And in “The Global Prison Paradox,” we’ll bring together globetrotting journalist and Netflix host Raphael Rowe and a Brown University professor.

Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention. For now, that means cranking up the style in our mostly virtual festival. Even when we’re finally back in person — with the smell of autumn leaves and paperbacks in the air — we’ll keep including sleek and snazzy digital content. And for those craving that in-person experience, you can check out our preview event at George Mason on October 7th.

Until then, read on!

Fall for the Book, which will feature bestselling authors Brit Bennett, Elizabeth Kolbert, Jo Nesbø, Maggie Smith, and dozens of others, runs Oct. 14-31, 2021. Click here for a full schedule of events.

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